Iraqi security forces conducted operations to dislodge anti-government demonstrators from their encampment in central Baghdad, firing live ammunition and tear gas and demolishing tents and concrete barriers near Tahrir Square, on Saturday, January 25.
There were reports of several injuries during the violent operation which started when the influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr withdrew his support for the protesters.
The protesters have for months held anti-government demonstrations and camped in the capital.
Saturday’s violence comes a day after a separate massive rally in Baghdad against the presence of US forces in the country.
Many protesters in that rally were supporters of powerful Iraqi Shia cleric al-Sadr, who had called a million of people to join Friday’s march.
The US killing of the top Iranian military commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, on January 03 at Baghdad airport has fuelled tensions.
Also assassinated in the US drone strike was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi who had commanded the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia group.
Iran responded on January 08 to Gen. Soleimani’s assassination by carrying out a ballistic missile attack on two airbases housing US forces in Iraq.
A Pentagon spokesman has said that 34 US service members had suffered traumatic brain injuries.
Hours after the strike, Iran’s armed forces fired two missiles at a Ukrainian passenger plane over Iran’s capital, Tehran, by mistake, killing all 176 people on board. (Source: BBC)